Tulsa's running attack concerns Falcons (8-28-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor   
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 09:01
Under the lights at Perry Stadium, the Bowling Green State University football team is going to be put to the test Thursday.
The Falcons host Tulsa in the season-opener with kickoff at 7 p.m.
Tulsa went 11-3 last season, winning the Conference USA championship and beating Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl. In 2012, the Falcons were 8-5, including a loss to San Jose State in the Military Bowl.
‘‘It’s to the point now that they’re not a good team, they’re a really good program,’’ BG head coach Dave Clawson said about the Golden Hurricane. ‘‘We have respect for Tulsa as a great program ... I think people who come out are going to see two very good football teams go at it in an opening game. We’re certainly going to be challenged out of the gate.
‘‘Our guys are not intimidated by it, they’re excited about it,’’ Clawson added.
The Falcons last played Tulsa in 2010, losing 33-20 in Oklahoma.
At that time the Golden Hurricane had a lot of offensive speed.
‘‘They are a more physical football team now. You see them doing a lot more run plays. They averaged over 200 yards (a game) in rushing offense last season,’’  said BG’s Paul Swan, a fifth-year senior linebacker, who saw some playing time against Tulsa in 2010.
‘‘That’s something that we really have to focus on and we really have to stop,’’ Swan added about TU’s running attack. ‘‘We’ve been working hard at it and we think we have some ways to do that.’’
It’s been under third-year head coach Bill Blankenship that Tulsa has developed a strong running attack behind a physical offensive line, while still having good wide-outs and a passing attack.
‘‘There is a much more physical element and dimension to what they are doing,’’ Clawson said.
Leading the way for Tulsa are tailbacks Trey Watts and Ja’terian Douglas. Clawson called both backs NFL prospects.
Watts, the son of former Oklahoma standout J.C. Watts, was a walk-on who has developed into one of the top backs in the nation. A 5-foot-11, 200 pounds senior, Watts rushed for 1,108 yards on 186 carries last season. He’s also a top kick returner.
Douglas, a 5-11, 199 senior, rushed for 936 yards and seven scores last season.
The running attack also features quarterback Cody Green, a 6-4, 245 senior, who is a transfer from Nebraska. He started 13 games for Tulsa in 2013, going 10-3.
‘‘Green, he could play tight end or offensive tackle for us; he’s a load,’’ Clawson said.
Green ran for 283 yards and four scores a year ago.
‘‘They do things with their zone read game and their power read game that it almost becomes a three-back offense,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘They knock people off the football. Once they get it going and they start running it on you, they have some backs that can make people miss.’’
Cook can also throw the ball, completing 54.4 percent of his passes last season for 2,592 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Keyarris Garrett, a 6-4, 221 junior, is one of the top receivers in the country. He made 67 catches for 845 yards and nine TDs in 2012.
‘‘They certainly have the personnel that they can throw it for 400 yards a game,’’ Clawson said.
Defensively, the Golden Hurricane return only two starters.
‘‘They were a top 25, top 30 defense a year ago,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘When you win 11 games, win a championship and a bowl game, you are good everywhere. You just can’t do that on one side of the ball.’’
Shawn Jackson, a  6-2, 255 senior linebacker, is the leader of the defense. He enters the 2013 season needing two sacks to tie the school record of 20, and three tackles for losses to tie the school record of 40. Jackson has 18 career sacks for minus-118 yards, and 37 tackles for losses for minus-162 yards.
‘‘It’s an awesome opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity to get our name out in the headlines, if you do great in the game and win it,’’ Swan said. ‘‘It’s going to be a tough task.
‘‘They’re a great team, but we feel like we have a pretty good team too and we’re doing all the right things to go in the right direction.’’
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 10:00

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